Mohammed Sadiq Ishrar Sheikh (31), co-founder of the Indian Mujahideen (IM), along with others, planted the bombs on the city’s trains (the bombings left 209 dead). He made this confession to the police on Friday. A copy of the confession is available with HT.
HT had first reported on October 14 that IM had executed the July 11, 2006 serial blasts. Also, on October 11, HT had reported on Sadiq’s journey into the world of terror — how he’d joined the Students’ Islamic Movement of India in 1996 after the Babri demolition and then the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba under the influence of his sister’s brother-in-law Salim Mujahid Islahi.
Islahi got Sadiq in touch with one Asif Raza Khan over email. After a year, Raza came to Mumbai and told Sadiq he’d have to undergo terror training in Kolkata for nine months. Sadiq agreed. He was given a telephone number to contact a particular person near a mosque in Kolkata. Sadiq told the police that person then sent him to Pakistan for training.
In 2003, Sadiq attended another training session that lasted for 45 days. During this trip, he met Riyaz Bhatkal in Dubai. Then, under Raza’s directions, Sadiq formed IM in 2005.
Aatif Ameen — who was recently gunned down in the Batla house encounter in Delhi — was operational commander of IM and helped Sadiq plant the bombs on the trains.
Sadiq is suspected of being involved in most of the blasts since 2005 though he has only confessed to the Mumbai train blasts. He also did not reveal if he and four of his accomplices posed as Pakistanis, or if the other accused arrested and chargesheeted by the Anti-Terrorism Squad were involved.
Sadiq told the police that planning for the train blasts started soon after the Varanasi railway station blasts. It was Aatif Ameen who initiated the planning, he stated.